Euro Grant Landed, But Ilkley Moor Has To Wait
A GROUP set up to protect and improve areas such as Ilkley Moor in the South Pennines has won a grant of nearly £1 million from the European Union.
The Standing Conference of Southern Pennine Authorities (SCOSPA) has picked up a grant of £850,000 after joining forces with partners from four other European countries.
But major improvements to Ilkley Moor will have to wait until the next round of grant awards, according to the town's countryside boss.
SCOSPA is made up of nine local authorities in Yorkshire and Lancashire which have areas of South Pennine moorland within their boundary.
The group, which is chaired by Bradford environmental boss and Ilkley district and parish councillor Anne Hawkesworth, bid for the cash with 15 other groups from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
One of the main projects will be to launch SCOSPA as a rural regeneration company next year so that it can attract a wider membership, which should make it easier to bid for extra funding.
If the expected new funding comes on-stream, a wide range of improvements on Ilkley Moor could result, according to Danny Jackson, Bradford Council's countryside officer for Ilkley.
Mr Jackson said: "In the future, the fact that this company has been set up will allow it to get money for the Ilkley Moor management plan."
That could mean more stone slabs being laid to prevent footpath erosion on the path across the moor to Bingley, the cutting back of bracken and surveys of wildlife to make sure that the moor was being managed efficiently. Bradford Council manages Ilkley Moor as a traditional grouse shooting area but without issuing licences.
There could also be more education work done to make sure locals and visitors appreciated the significance of archaeological sites on the moor such as the Twelve Apostles stone circle or the Swastika stone.
Countryside officers would like to see more interpretation boards in areas such as the Cow and Calf rocks car park.
Mr Jackson said: "We have a management plan to cover the next ten years but we can only do a certain amount with existing resources."
The bid for European funding was made by the Netherlands for the whole of the group and the grant was formally accepted earlier this month.
As well as conservation work, the grant will also help a project to enhance economic activity in Southern Pennine areas by promoting markets for local produce.
Councillor Hawkesworth said: "I am thrilled that we have managed to secure this money to help protect some of the most wonderful open spaces in the country and I am also honoured to be representing SCOSPA.
"This is a very good example of what people with shared interests can achieve when they work closely together, pool their resources and share their experiences and expertise."
SCOSPA was set up in 1974 as a Southern Pennine conservation body and as well as Bradford, its members include Calderdale, Kirklees, Rochdale, Oldham, Rossendale, Burnley, Pendle, Lancashire County Council, United Utilities, the Southern Pennine Association and Pennine Heritage.
Posted Thursday 20 November 2003
Posted by Kozmik_Ken
21st November 2003ce
Edited 21st November 2003ce